Something we often get asked is, “What is there to do around here?”
For those of you who have just finished getting your brand-spanking-new tattoo at our studio, or perhaps you’re just visiting the area, here are a couple fun places to visit in Shinjuku.
Omoide Yokocho translates to “Memory Lane”, a fitting name for a small pocket of the city centre that transports you back to the Showa Era (1926 – 1989).
Omoide Yokocho is a historic jewel set amongst the modern city life and towering skyscrapers. Here you can enjoy beer and grilled meats amongst the hustle and bustle of excited tourists and jovial salaryman (all happy to be finished work). It’s a bit of a tourist trap these days, so you’ll find the food and drink a bit more expensive than your average Japanese pub, but for the atmosphere it’s worth it. Add to that the fact that most people around you are in a good mood, and you can have yourself an unforgettable experience.
A Little History
Omoide Yokocho (also nicknamed “Piss Alley”) used to be a black market during war times. At the time it was a dangerous place, but desperate times drove many people to visit in order buy food and supplies. Now it’s very safe, of course, and the lively stall owners and narrow alleyways make it fun to explore.
The bars/restaurants are very small so don’t go in a big group.
There are some bar/restaurant owners that don’t allow foreigners (yes, it’s super discriminatory), but most are welcoming.
Golden Gai is somewhat similar to Omoide Yokocho, in that it’s like travelling back in time. However, instead of food stands, Golden Gai is almost strictly bars with all kinds of themes from death metal to decadence.
With over 200 bars packed together in neat little rows of dilapadated housing and tiny rooms, you’re spoilt for choice, and each compact bar is a mini adventure since you often don’t know what you’re going to encounter on the other side of the door. Generally, it will be a one-room affair filled with excited, friendly faces and welcoming barmen.
Golden Gai used to be a little-known area, but it’s exploded in popularity amongst travellers. As such, similarly to Omoide Yokocho, the prices tend to be a little on the expensive side, but again the experience and atmosphere makes it worth it, even if it’s just for a walk through the streets in the evening air.